Taliban forces opened fire on Iranian border guards on Saturday, killing at least two, Iranian state media reported. While the situation is now reportedly under control, unverified video footage purportedly shows Taliban fighters moving weapons to the border.
The incident took place at the border of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province and the Afghan province of Nimroz. Taliban militants opened fire first, killing at least two Iranian guards, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported, citing police sources.
The Iranians responded in kind, inflicting “heavy casualties and serious damage,” IRNA stated.
Taliban officials said that the Iranian guards fired first, and that one person on each side was killed, while others were wounded.
The dispute is apparently centered around water rights, with both sides claiming access to the Helmand River. While a 1973 treaty guarantees Iran and Afghanistan equal access to the river, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has claimed that Taliban gunmen are preventing Iranian scientists from monitoring water levels, and warned earlier this month that Tehran would not “allow the rights of our people to be violated.”
Unverified video footage shared on social media purportedly shows Taliban troops using American weapons to assault an Iranian border post. Separate footage shows what appear to be convoys of heavy weapons being towed to the scene of the clashes.
However, Sistan and Baluchistan deputy security chief Alireza Marhamati told IRNA that the border was “calm” as of Saturday evening, and that officials on both sides were holding talks to de-escalate the situation.